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CAN MY PROPERTY BE USED FOR AIRBNB?

CAN MY PROPERTY BE USED FOR AIRBNB?

When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it’s important for you to understand how the laws work in your city.

According to Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport and urban development at the City of Cape Town, different holiday accommodation land use types, such as B&Bs and guest houses, are regulated by the City’s zoning scheme, called the Development Management Scheme.

If referring to Cape Town, for instance, the city has a Guest Accommodation Policy that sets out the guidelines that have to be considered when applications are made to obtain the necessary planning permissions. According to the Policy, if you wanted to provide a self-catering, flexible accommodation option in line with current trends for transient guests, visitors and tourists, then these are the guidelines that should be followed:

Purpose

  • A building or group of buildings consisting of separate accommodation units rented for residential purposes, each incorporating a kitchenette / full kitchen, but may also include an option of meals being provided communally to guests.
  • May include communal areas for the exclusive use by lodgers / transient guests.

Scale

  • Form and scale of development determined by development parameters of particular zone (i.e. floor space, building lines, height) and the site context.
  • No general restriction on number of units, but must be locally appropriate in context of the building/site characteristics and surrounding area.
  • Council may determine / restrict the number of units per development in cases and lay down conditions necessary to mitigate the impact thereof.

Location

  • Not supported on a single residential zoned property, subject site must have suitable general residential, mixed use or commercial zoning.
  • Locational criteria that should be considered, include:
  • proximity to public transport routes, commercial centres and tourist activities.
  • character of the surrounding area;
  • mixed use or commercial locations (including areas designated for high density development) are encouraged.

Conclusion

In many cities, you must register, get a permit, or obtain a licence before you can list your property or accept guests. Certain types of short-term bookings may be prohibited altogether. Local municipalities may also vary greatly in how they enforce these laws. However, it is not impossible to list your property on Airbnb, you just have to find out from the local municipality if you have the correct permissions and if the property has the correct zoning.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Reference

Guest Accommodation Policy, the City of Cape Town, Department of Planning & Building Development Management.

“Regulating Airbnb in Cape Town”, Jan Vermeulen, MyBroadband. https://mybroadband.co.za/news/government/210884-regulating-airbnb-in-cape-town.html

WHAT DOES THE DEEDS OFFICE DO?

WHAT DOES THE DEEDS OFFICE DO?

A2The Deeds Office is responsible for the registration, management and maintenance of the property registry of South Africa. If you are planning on buying a house, it can be useful knowing about the Deeds Office. However, you would use the services of a conveyancer when buying or selling a house. Your estate agent should be able to recommend a conveyancing attorney to register your home loan and transfer a property into your name.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal term for the process whereby a person, company, close corporation or trust becomes the registered and legal owner of immovable property and ensures that this ownership cannot be challenged. It also covers the process of the registration of mortgages.

Steps taken by the conveyancer:

  1. The conveyancer lodges your title deed and other documents in the Deeds Office for registration. These documents will be individually captured on the system. If there is a bond, the conveyancer dealing with the bond will lodge the bond documents with the Deeds Office at the same time as the transfer documents. The transfer, bond and cancellation documents must be lodged in the Deeds Office at the same time to ensure simultaneous registration. If different conveyancers are dealing with registering the purchaser’s bond and cancelling the seller’s bond, then they will need to collaborate.
  2. The Deeds Office examiners go through the documentation that has been submitted, and make sure that it complies with the relevant laws and legislations.
  3. The examiners then inform the conveyancer that the deeds are ready to be registered.
  4. Registration takes place with the conveyancer and Registrar of Deeds present. The transfer of the property is then registered in the purchaser’s name. If there is a bond, it is registered at the same time.
  5. Upon registration, the purchaser becomes the lawful owner of the property. The title deed that reflects this ownership is given to the conveyancer by the deeds office after the registration. Unless a bond has been registered as well, in which case the title deed is given to the bond holder.

The time taken to register a property at the Deeds Office depends on various factors and a number of parties. On average, registering a property transfer takes six to eight weeks, although unforeseen difficulties can cause the period to be extended.

References:

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

RENOVATING YOUR HOUSE

RENOVATING YOUR HOUSE

a1_a_2Gerald and Francis have been living in their dream home for the past 10 years.  In the last few months they noticed that the bathroom and kitchen are starting to look a bit dated and they would love some ekstra space for the children.

With great excitement they decided to update the bathroom and kitchen and close the stoep area to be used as a family room.

They were very surprised when friends reminded them that they should submit building plans for the stoep before the building work commence.  Surely building plans are not necessary, after all, the foundation, as well as two walls, are already in place?

It is important to remember that there are both national regulations, as well as municipality by laws to be taken into consideration.

The City of Cape Town for example require approved building plans for any structure, regardless if it is of a temporary or permanent nature, including alterations or extensions to an existing structure, except for buildings which is less than 5m2, a wire fence or open-side fabric shelter for a car, boat or caravan.  The plans must be drawn by an architect, technologist or draughtsperson who is registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession.

Furthermore, the City of Cape Town require building work to commence within 1 year from approval of the building plans and upon completion of the building work, a request should be submitted for the issuing of an occupancy certificate.

Before any building work commence, it is very important to contact your local authority and to establish what their requirements are regarding building plans, the submission thereof, as well as among other things their requirements regarding room dimensions, heights, natural lighting and ventilation, as well as the time frame in which building work should be completed, the inspections to be done and the occupation certificate to be issued.  Also, should your property be located in a Heritage area or be defined as a Heritage building, different guidelines will apply to keep in line with the architectural style and history of the area.

It may seem inviting to proceed with building work without approved plans, who will find out?  A building inspector can order you to stop with any further building until the plans are approved.  Failure to adhere thereto, may lead to a fine or even a court order to demolish the unapproved structure.

When planning an extension to an existing house, keep in mind that your property’s Title Deed may also have restrictive conditions limiting the distance to the boundaries of the erf where you are allowed to build, for example “No building or structure or any portion thereof except boundary walls and fences, shall … be erected nearer than 6,30 metres to the street line …, nor within 3,15 metres of the rear or 1,57 metres of the lateral boundary …”

Also, keep in mind, when you sell your property in future, the purchasers are likely to request copies of the approved building plans as a condition of the sale.  Should the plans not be up to date, it will be your responsibility to provide updated approved plans.  It is possible that an “illegal” / unapproved structure, which could be the very thing that attracted potential buyers in the first place, have to be demolished for the plans to be approved.  It is never advisable to make any changes to your property without consulting experts in the field as well as your local authority.

Renovating your property can be a very exciting project, ensure that you do your homework and know what is required from you.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)